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Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops downplayed cornerback Jordan Thomas' arrest Monday during a press conference. He will not be suspended for the Orange Bowl against Clemson Dec. 31.

Thomas was arrested by Grady County police late Saturday and spent that night and Sunday night in jail for failing to appear in court for a traffic ticket in July.

"Just a mix-up with the family paying a traffic ticket," Stoops said. "Nothing else to talk about. It’s pretty simple. That happens to everybody."

Thomas was ticketed by Oklahoma Highway Patrol for speeding in July. Court records show he was going 94 mph in a 75 mph zone. His drivers license was suspended Oct. 1 and a warrant was issued Nov. 19.

He was released from jail Monday after paying $321.50 for the ticket and subsequent fees.

Thomas sat out the first quarter of OU's season-opener against Akron and the entire game against Tulsa for unspecified violations of team rules.

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You have to admire Bob Stoops’ willingness to embrace change.At his age, in his profession, Stoops’ ability to adapt is impressive — rare, almost.Stoops is a 55-year-old football coach who, other than needing to be pressed once in awhile to step outside his famous stubbornness, fully understands that as his sport evolves, so must he evolve.The question now becomes: Can he and Oklahoma evolve one more time?Stoops still has his own way of doing things. He always will. He’ll always be a steel-tough, father figure to his players, he’ll always be fiercely loyal to his staff and his close friends, he’ll always have an arms-length relationship with his fans, he’ll always have his dukes up with the media, and he’ll always play by the rules.But Stoops badly wants to win another national championship.How, then, does he make that happen?Stoops fired two close friends last year. Made his own brother do something he didn’t want to do. Switched offenses, switched quarterbacks, switched back, then switched QBs again. Tried one defense, then tried another, then went back.Wishy-washy or cutting edge? Decide for yourself.But the lessons learned this season — from both the Orange Bowl and the Sugar Bowl — is that the Big 12 Conference is currently not capable of winning a national title.Not when there are dragons out there from the top of the Southeastern Conference and the Atlantic Coast Conference and Big Ten Conference terrorizing the college football countryside.The problem is depth and line play. Could Baylor or TCU or Oklahoma or Oklahoma State from either of the past two seasons win two playoff games against the likes of Florida State or Auburn in 2013 or Alabama or Ohio State or Florida State in 2014 or Clemson or Alabama in 2015?Not a chance.There’s a reason the Big 12 hasn’t won a national championship for more than a decade now.The Big 12’s best team this year (hands down, undisputed, one true champion) was run out of Miami by the ACC champion by three touchdowns. The Big 12’s second-best team (by virtue of a tiebreaker, anyway) was run out of New Orleans by the SEC West runner-up by four touchdowns.The Sooners remain the class of the Big 12, despite a few downturns in recent years. No single Big 12 program — not upstarts Baylor or TCU, not oncoming Oklahoma State, not stale stalwart Texas — has enduring swagger like the Sooners.But currently, OU is caught between a rock and a hard place.To keep up with the Baylors and TCUs of the world, Oklahoma must score, and score a lot. That means a commitment to the spread offense and an up-tempo philosophy.But as has been proven over and over, that puts a significant strain on the defense. Most teams can’t overcome it.Committing to that style of football to compete for conference titles means putting a greater emphasis on wide receivers and defensive backs in recruiting, and that means fewer scholarships for offensive linemen and defensive linemen.Meanwhile, Alabama and Ohio State and Florida State and the like stockpile four- and five-star linemen, while everyone else runs the spread, and guess who wins national championships?Here are the teams that have won national titles since OU in 2000: Miami, Ohio State, LSU, USC, Texas, Florida, LSU, Florida, Alabama, Auburn, Alabama, Alabama, Florida State, Ohio State and either Alabama or Clemson.While a few of them ran the spread and a few of them ran up-tempo, they all have one thing in common: Every national champion from the last five decades of football ran an offense that utilized fullbacks, tight ends and big, nasty offensive linemen (in Auburn and Florida’s case, a transcendent quarterback was enough to overcome no fullback).In the past five recruiting classes, Alabama has signed 33 four- and five-star offensive and defensive line prospects, according toRivals.com. Ohio State has signed 28, and Florida State 25.Oklahoma? Only 17, with 11 of those coming in 2011 and 2015. From 2012 to 2014, OU signed only six, while the three other programs stacked up 18, 17 and 14, respectively.So what’s the solution?OU sort of has to stick with the gimmicky offense to keep up with Baylor, TCU and the rest. And no need to deride winning nine Big 12 titles in 17 seasons. The spread works — but only to a degree.Maybe a better solution would be to leave the Big 12 for the SEC or the Big Ten and get back to a more traditional offense that can dominate the line of scrimmage like Clemson and Alabama did last week.The league’s grant-of-rights agreement creates a hurdle until 2025, but those leagues do offer significantly higher overall revenue that might help offset any financial hit to TV revenue.Beyond that, given the current system, what those leagues really offer is a chance to build a national championship team.Bob Stoops can embrace that kind of change.

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Very interesting read, and I agree with most of it.

One thing I don't understand is how they can struggle with the running QB for so long. It goes all the way back to Vince Young. The running QB has always killed OU even with the speed they have.

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Very interesting read, and I agree with most of it.

One thing I don't understand is how they can struggle with the running QB for so long. It goes all the way back to Vince Young. The running QB has always killed OU even with the speed they have.

Brad Smith always scared the hell out of me. Every carry.

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Sanchez and Alexander both declared for the draft meaning all 4 Big 12 first team D players are gone. Secondary could actually be better without Sanchez as Parker is likely an upgrade, and they actually have a lot of depth there. Not sure why Alexander went pro, doesn't seem like a high pick but he has the body type and skills to get there. Seemed like one more year in college may have helped his stock some, but who knows.

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I want to know the general idea of the tactics charlie was using on recruits? He was able to sell 5-7 somehow. And OU couldn’t close after making the damn playoff. CS can’t be that good!? Can he?

Maybe it is time to get some fresh faces on the recruiting scene. I guess Bob is going to have to do sleep overs now to get top talent, or have Jayz and Eminem show recruits around Norman.

If Bob can't sell recruits on coming to OU after last year, I don't know what could. I think that OU finished around 20th in all the recruiting sites yesterday after the big bick up of Caleb Kelly. But, OU still finished 3rd or 4th out of the Big12.

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Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield gains additional year of eligibility

IRVING, Texas — Joe Castiglione talked Wednesday about not giving up on a Big 12 rule change that would grant Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield an additional year of eligibility.

There’s plenty of time for the issue to be revisited, the Sooners athletic director said.

It only took 24 hours.

Thursday at the Big 12 Spring Meetings, the league’s Faculty Athletic Representatives voted 7-3 to approve a change in the rules that makes Mayfield eligible to play at Oklahoma through the 2017 season.

“And y’all thought you were getting rid of me,” Mayfield tweeted just moments after Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby announced the change.

So Mayfield, barring an injury or other unforeseen circumstances, will be the Sooners quarterback when they open the 2017 season against UTEP and go on the road to Ohio State a week later.

Both Castiglione and Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said after Wednesday’s 5-5 vote that the voting down of the rule was shortsighted and that it was a blow to the movement of greater concern for the welfare of athletes across all sports.

The proposal that passed differed from the one Oklahoma had submitted.

In the initial proposal, any non-recruited walk-on could transfer within the conference without the penalty of automatically losing a year of eligibility in addition to sitting out for the year.

The proposal that passed allows a walk-on who has not had a written offer of aid from his or her current school to transfer without the penalty.

“That may seem like a fine distinction but having a written offer of aid is a significant nuance to the previous proposal,” Bowlsby said. “It has to be offered by the end of the school year or the period of the award.”

Stoops said he appreciated the change of heart.

"I appreciate the Big 12 faculty athletics representatives spending more time studying the important issue of walk-on transfers and am pleased by the result of today's Big 12 vote — not just because it potentially impacts Baker Mayfield, but because it was the right thing to do," Stoops said in a statement.

Oklahoma president David Boren was also happy with the decision.

“This was a very good action by the Faculty Athletic Representatives. Also, requiring written evidence of an offer of scholarship, which in the case of Baker Mayfield there was no such offer, I think that strengthens it from an evidentiary point of view,” Boren said. “The conference does not want to get into a ‘he said, she said,’ sort of situation. I think that, procedurally, is very strong. I’m very pleased by their decision.

“It’s not only fair in this individual case, it’s fair to all student-athletes.”

Mayfield walked on at Texas Tech in 2013 and became the first walk-on quarterback to start his team’s season opener as a freshman.

He started seven games for the Red Raiders that season, throwing for 2,315 yards and 12 touchdowns.

But after the season, Mayfield decided to transfer and quickly wound up at Oklahoma.

He’d grown up a Sooners fan and despite OU having just won the Sugar Bowl with an MVP performance from young quarterback Trevor Knight, decided to join Oklahoma.

The battle over the transfer with first Texas Tech and then the Big 12 started immediately.

Tech initially refused to release Mayfield, making him unable to receive a scholarship shortly after his arrival on campus.

The school relented on that shortly, but Tech still objected to the waiver, which not only would have made Mayfield not lose the year of eligibility but immediately eligible in 2014.

Oklahoma requested a waiver from the faculty reps last May, but the group voted to deny the waiver.

Each conference school has one representative in the group.

The breakdown of Thursday’s vote — and Wednesday’s — was unavailable.

After sitting out the 2014 season, Mayfield beat out Knight and Cody Thomas for the starting job and promptly led the Sooners to the College Football Playoff.

He threw for 3,700 yards and 36 touchdowns with just seven interceptions and ran for 405 yards and seven scores.

He was named the Sporting News’ Player of the Year and finished fourth in Heisman Trophy voting.


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NORMAN — Something momentous happened to Oklahoma football coach Bob Stoops last week, something a little more personal than winning a championship, producing an NFL draft pick or capturing some coach of the year award.

“It means more to me, maybe, than anything,” he said Thursday.

ESPN asked Big 12 and Southeastern Conference coaches going through their cycle of interviews on the Bristol campus: “If you had a son who was an elite football prospect and could play for any coach in America other than yourself, who would be your first choice?”

Stoops won the anonymous poll with five votes, two more than Michigan State’s Mark Dantonio and Stanford’s David Shaw. They could have picked anyone, and they chose him.

It was the second such honor for Stoops, who tied then-Georgia coach Mark Richt in a similar ESPN poll of 98 FBS coaches in 2014.

I brought it up with Stoops on Thursday, worried he might brush it off like it was a preseason AP vote. I learned immediately I was wrong.

“That my peers, coaches, feel I treat kids the right way,” he said, “I don’t know, hopefully a good role model and mentor to them and coach, as well. It means a great deal to me.”

I should have known better.

I’ve covered Stoops every year at Oklahoma but his first. Ask me to describe him, the first thing that comes to mind is “loyal.” That goes for his players, his staff, his family, his hometown and his buddies. That goes for his profession. Stoops is a coach to the bone.

I’ve lost count of the number of coaches he has referred to as “a friend.” He has vacationed with some, gone on golf trips with others. He has hosted entire staffs, college and high school. He has spoken at clinics. He takes pleasure in the perks of his job, but also the minutiae. So long as it involves coaching, or fellow coaches.

It’s an unbroken rule for Stoops to open postgame news conferences by crediting the opponent and the opponent’s coach. It’s an unbroken rule for Stoops to lament another coach’s firing, to not just say it but mean it. It infuriates him when his players are criticized by media or the general public, and just as much when other coaches are, as well.

“I appreciate and know what they do, and what we all go through,” he said. “We all deal with a lot of the same issues. But we also experience all the positives, too.”

The winning is nice. The money is very nice. The relationships with/influence on kids might be more rewarding than the money. I tend to think men and women decide to coach thinking they can hit all three jackpots.

The best keep at it, winning the most, earning the most and having the most influence along the way. If you are fortunate enough to do all of that at the rate Stoops has, and at a place as relentlessly demanding as OU, it is likely you will eventually be singled out. You will become an example for your industry.

The results of the poll did not surprise Stoops’ staff, or those who know him best.

“Bob stands for all the right things,” said Mike Stoops, the younger brother and longtime defensive lieutenant. “I think he’s humble. His integrity, his development of players, his character … I think it speaks to his character probably as much as anything. He’s very consistent in his approach.”

Joe Castiglione, entering his 18th year as both OU athletic director and Stoops’ boss, introduced his football coach to a room full of boosters Thursday by saying: “Look around at all the incredible things that have happened here. There’s a person that will never take the credit. I know he will always deflect it, but he deserves a heck of a lot of credit. He’s won nine Big 12 championships. … The winningest coach in Oklahoma history. And the person just yesterday, we learned, that most coaches would love to have their son play for.”

It’s a wonderful homage for a man who coaches on behalf of his program and his profession. Maybe the nicest of all.

“I have such respect for all the coaches out there at all levels,” Stoops said. “So yeah, there’s no doubt that that’s very flattering. I’m honored they feel that way.”

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I don't know if Houston is that good, or Oklahoma had a bad game?  But, Oklahoma looked out of sync today.  Defense only forced 2 punts all day.  The offense got banged around pretty good with Mayfield and Perine taking some pretty big shots.  The timeout to kick the LONG FG only to have it returned 110 yards for a TD was the dagger.  Taking 2 time outs early in the 3rd showed how out of sync the team was coming into this game.  Trying to not think the ship is taking on water at the moment since most people around here were talking National Title this year.  Guess OU can start focusing on trying to win the Big 12 at this point.  The tickets for the Ohio State game will drop like a lead balloon so I may try to go to that game with the kids.    

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21 hours ago, Christo said:

And a big, fat F for the coaches.

That decision to kick the field goal was one of the dumbest things I've seen in awhile. And after what happened to Bama, how in the hell do you not prepare those guys for that situation? Really curious stuff.

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20 hours ago, Moe. said:

That decision to kick the field goal was one of the dumbest things I've seen in awhile. And after what happened to Bama, how in the hell do you not prepare those guys for that situation? Really curious stuff.

How about the decision to re-punt against OSU a few years ago?

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